Following a tour round Europe, Melbourne’s Suzie Stapleton has released her second EP, Obladi Diablo. Tomatrax caught up with Suzie to ask her about her music.

What inspired you to become a singer?

Great music. Good songs…. It’s hard to pinpoint – I’ve always sung in one way or another, and I’ve always been drawn to creating music. So, I guess it’s something that has always been in me and performing live was a natural progression.

When did you write your first song?
When I was 14 I started playing guitar and writing a lot of poetry. The first song was not long after that.

You’ve been likened to performers such as Melissa Etheridge and Siouxsie Sioux, do you think that’s a fair call?
I don’t really have any connection to either of those artists – as in, I’m not all that familiar with their music. But I think any comparison is fair if somebody is genuinely reminded of something from my music – people need a point of reference so I’m not too fussed about where people draw parallels.

Have you thought of performing in a band rather than as a solo artist?
I do perform in a band! The EP was recorded with Craig Williamson and Leif van den Dungen who play with me live.

Where did the name Obladi Diablo come from?
“Obladi” comes from that God-awful Beatles song, and “Diablo” is Spanish for devil. It’s a dig at Pop music – the trite rubbish that is played on commercial radio. It’s also a bit of a laugh as I’m not a Beatles’ fan – I mean, I know they’ve got some good songs, but I can’t tell you which albums I like or don’t like as I’d have to sit down and listen to a whole bunch of Beatles records to be able to tell you, and that’s something I’m not prepared to do. Ha.

What was the inspiration behind the video clip for Bring Back the night?
The initial idea of putting a camera inside a guitar and filming a “guitar’s story” was Leif’s. I then came up with the story of it being cast aside for the electric guitar and having a drunken meltdown (I can’t imagine where I got that idea from!) – and the three of us work-shopped the rest from there. Leif and Craig did all the filming and editing – a top effort as it was their first film.

Will you be releasing any other video clips from the EP?
There’s one idea waiting in the wings – we will see.

You have been touring round Australia in support of your latest EP, how has that been going?
We’ve had a great time on the road. The shows have been fantastic and I always love a road trip. I’ve introduced the boys to a road game I made up called “There’s One”. Basically, when you see road kill you have to point and shout, “There’s One!”. The first person to do so gets a point. You lose a point if it’s actually a tyre or something on the side of the road. In Adelaide “The City of Churches” we modified it to spotting churches and shouting, “There’s Jesus!”. It could be the product of some kind of mobile cabin fever.

You’ve entered songs on Triple J’s Unearthed website, has this had any impact on your music’s coverage?
I think it’s a great website they’ve created to give more unsigned musicians exposure. It’s hard to really gauge exactly what impact it’s had, but I think the more avenues there are for people to share your music, the better.

Do you ever listen to your own music?
When I’m working on it sure – and beyond that I suppose, yes, in a sense of review and reflection. I don’t put it on and dance around naked or anything.

What music to you listen to?
I listen to a lot of different music – Mark Lanegan, Nick Cave, Deer Tick, The Afghan Whigs, Kyuss, Smog, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen…. Plus a lot of local Melbourne bands – there’s so much great music here to check out all the time. Some of my favourite local songwriters are Spencer P Jones, Jacky Winter, Nick Batterham and James McCann.

What do you plan on doing after your tour?
I’m taking a bit of a break from all the shows and focusing on writing for a while. I already have loads of bits and pieces for a record and I’m really looking forward to shutting the door for a few months and being creative.

Suzie will be playing a duo show with cellist Gareth Skinner at Pure Pop Records in St Kilda, 4pm Sunday December 23. Check out her webpage to find out more!

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